The River Rat

Deity of rivers and river travel

Alignment: CN
Domains: Chaos, Death, Travel, Water
Subdomains: Exploration, Murder, Rivers, Trade
Favored Weapon: trident
Centers of Worship: River Kingdoms
Nationality: Kellid
Herald: Ashkaelae's Brood
Symbol Rat: walking on water or on a log
Sacred Animal: Rat
Sacred Colors: Blue, gold

Life is suffering. How we choose to allay our agony determines who we are. All must make this choice, and in choosing find their true selves.
—Apocryphal annotations of the Six River Freedoms

Hanspur is most commonly worshiped in the freedom-loving River Kingdoms. While there are few canonical texts associated with his faith, most legends claim he originally worshiped Gozreh during the tumultuous Age of Darkness before ascending to divinity himself. While the exact details surrounding Hanspur's apotheosis vary, common threads within these tales suggest that a traveling companion drowned him in the Sellen River, and that Gozreh raised him from the dead to serve as a protector of rivers and waterways. But while Hanspur watches over the waters, he cares less for the lives of a river's travelers and not at all about their morality.

Understanding Hanspur

Clerics of Hanspur, who are indoctrinated in the deeper mysteries of his faith, know that their god was not merely murdered by a traveling companion. The companion was a priest of the daemonic harbinger Corosbel, and the murder was a sacrificial ritual intended to consign Hanspur's soul to the Horseman of Death, Charon, with whom Corosbel wished to gain favor. However, the ritual sacrifice did not proceed as planned. Though the details of what went awry are unclear, Hanspur's clerics believe Gozreh subtly interceded, preventing Corosbel from claiming the entirety of Hanspur's soul for Abaddon. The remainder was bound within Hanspur's dire rat companion, Ashkaelae. Hanspur returned from death a week after the attempted sacrifice, rising from the Sellen River as a demigod with his latent mortal soul fractured. This transformation left him callous and cold. It is unclear whether Gozreh intended for Hanspur to emerge from the waters as a divine being or merely as a divine servitor; the inscrutable nature deity's lukewarm support of Hanspur suggests either that she did not intend for the Water Rat to ascend or that she is not entirely pleased with Hanspur's subsequent actions and attitudes.

Hanspur's mortal identity is a matter of contention among his priests, with different sects of his faithful claiming he was born to their people. Most notably, among Hanspur's Kellid followers, he is depicted as a legendary and ancient Kellid king whose death and attempted sacrifice signaled the fall of the Kellid people and the coming encroachment of southerners. Such followers of Hanspur believe that he ruled the region of the world now known as the River Kingdoms, and that by conquering the rivers in his name, they can reclaim their lost lands for themselves.

Whatever his true origin, Hanspur and his faithful haunt the Sellen River as vengeful guardians, hunting down followers of Corosbel and protecting river travelers from hazards of the waterways.

The Church

Hanspur's faith is largely decentralized, with no formal hierarchy and considerable variation in the traditions and tenets of the faith between different congregations. Services and prayers draw more from local traditions and the ethics of communities supported by the waterways than from any set religious doctrine. Worship often takes place along the banks of rivers or aboard ferries and boats actively traveling over water. Hanspur's priests rarely conduct formal services, though some faithful take the opportunity to proselytize while ferrying a captive audience downriver.

Typical worshipers of Hanspur include ferry operators, fishers, river pirates, and smugglers. Hanspur's faithful maintain boats, ply the river, and offer passage for a price. More often than not, they live off the land and water, and one of the few teachings common to most of the Water Rat's congregations is instruction in how to recognize and use the gifts of the river. Hanspur thus tends to inspire worship from the destitute and homeless living in the River Kingdoms, offering them both a purpose in life and a path to self-sufficiency.

Hanspur's followers often eschew rites practiced by more organized religions, such as marriage or funerals. Death is a fact of life, and bodies are burned on floating barges with little ceremony, more to protect others from disease and the waters from contamination than from any spiritual belief. Among Hanspurites, both parents typically raise children, but as the saying goes, "The river is always moving," and sometimes it is better for one of the parents to move on.

Hanspur's faithful consider rats sacred animals, honoring them in memory of Hanspur's companion Ashkaelae. Worshipers tend to keep rats, either as pets or simply as signs of their god's favor. Despite this status, the faithful have no compunctions about eating rats as sustenance when the need arises, and Hanspur does not punish his faithful for these acts. Ratfolk followers of Hanspur see Ashkaelae as the true divinity and Hanspur as a revenant or servant of Ashkaelae's will. Curiously, these heretic priests are still granted spells.

Hanspur communicates to his priests through images reflected in river water. Because of the incomplete state of Hanspur's soul, his faithful sometimes have a difficult time interpreting the meaning behind these ambiguous visions. Unscrupulous worshipers of Hanspur may twist or completely fabricate these messages so as to better manipulate their flock, but it seems Hanspur cares little about how his followers interpret his will.

Followers of Corosbel, in an attempt to discredit Hanspur's faith in civilized lands, have taken to murdering river travelers in the name of Hanspur while masquerading as members of his faith. Many of Hanspur's faithful are unfortunately unaware of this duplicity; some of his more superstitious followers have mistakenly taken up the practice in the belief that such a macabre offering protects them from the dangers of river travel.

Temples and Shrines

The majority of Hanspur's devoted travel frequently, so there are few stationary temples to his faith. Most temples to Hanspur are aboard rafts or barges, while smaller floating shrines containing lit candles, coins, and other offerings are simply set adrift on river currents. Some riverside settlements feature altars to Hanspur outside their city gates or near wharves and docks, typically consisting of driftwood and reeds bound with rope into the effigy of a man. When multiple worshipers of Hanspur congregate, they use these holy sites as meeting places, sharing news and knowledge along with their perspectives on Hanspur's teachings. These moots are sometimes the only instance where one priest of Hanspur will ever meet another, and debate can become quite lively.

The largest temple devoted to Hanspur lies on the northern shore of Kallas Lake between the River Kingdoms and Kyonin. This house of worship is a flotilla of barges and rafts lashed together and anchored to form a floating island. The most dedicated followers of Hanspur congregate here irregularly to interpret visions and signs from the Water Rat.

A Priest's Role

Priests of Hanspur are partially protectors and partially enforcers. Hanspur asks his faithful to guard river travelers on their journeys, but only from unnatural hazards such as river pirates or brigands. The faithful of Hanspur see environmental dangers as expected parts of the natural cycle, and many river travelers have found their end at the hands of vicious native predators while priests of Hanspur looked on. The sole exception to this rule is drowning, which Hanspur's priests will more often than not attempt to prevent.

Though most of Hanspur's followers are clerics, druids, and rangers, cults of Hanspur frequently indoctrinate hunters, rogues, shamans, slayers, and the occasional warpriest, as well. The fractious nature of Hanspur's religion ensures that there are no true archetypal structures of the Water Rat's faith. Hydrokineticists in the River Kingdoms often find worship of Hanspur a particularly profound calling. Some witches claim to be direct servants of Hanspur, particularly those with death, vengeance, or water patrons.

Priests of Hanspur view dusk as a sacred time of day, believing it to be either the hour of Hanspur's mortal death or the moment of his divine resurrection, depending on the particular tenets of a given sect. During the hour of dusk, the faithful of Hanspur isolate themselves and sit in quiet contemplation near or in a river. When a river is not immediately accessible, his priests seek out some source of water in which to douse themselves. A priest of Hanspur usually ends his dusk worship with a moment of simulated drowning, either by briefly submersing himself in an available river, or by pouring water over his face with a cloth over his eyes. Following this ritual, he prepares his spells while contemplating his god's final moments as a mortal, attempting to understand the mystery of how a death transitioned into divinity and the power therein. (This counts as the priest's obedience.)

Beyond protecting river travelers, some of Hanspur's priests concern themselves with the activities of the daemonic harbinger Corosbel. While few of Hanspur's faithful have even an inkling of their god's history with the harbinger, Hanspur's clerics and warpriests sometimes receive visions directing them to confront cabals of Corosbel's faithful and slaughter the daemon's followers to the last. Corosbel's twisting of Hanspur's faithful has confused this mission, however, leading clerics and warpriests of Hanspur to sometimes kill members of their own faith.

Druids and rangers who venerate Hanspur are entrusted with magic that allows them to better navigate the hazards of the rivers. Such druids can prepare water walk as a 3rd-level spell. Rangers devoted to Hanspur add water breathing to their spell list as a 2nd-level spell so as to not suffer the same fate as Hanspur himself.

Antipaladin Code

While antipaladins of Hanspur are exceedingly rare, a handful have emerged over the centuries to cause untold damage across the River Kingdoms. These cruel and vengeful followers focus their violence against adherents and suspected allies of the harbinger Corosbel, leading to violent and bloody inquisitions that, on the surface, are done in Hanspur's name. More likely, however, these vendettas serve only to consolidate the antipaladins' personal power or serve their own agendas. Their code is one of persecution under the guise of protection. Its tenets include the following adages.

• Make them suffer as he did—drown your enemies alive so they may understand.

• The river is free, but the land is our reward.

• To kill death is to master it. We shall crush the daemons under our heel.

• Respect is blood or gold; let none ply our rivers without giving respect.


Any who respect the power and influence of rivers are welcome to join Hanspur's faithful. Although he is most venerated by Kellid and Varisian worshipers, there is no clear ethnic delineation among his followers. Likewise, Hanspur's faith has no obvious doctrine regarding morality. While some sects of Hanspur see themselves as good-hearted travelers living free on the river, protecting those who cannot protect themselves, there are just as many cruel adherents who manipulate and exploit travelers. Hanspur cares only that his followers appreciate and accept freedom and do not impose needless laws or restrictions upon others. Freedom, ultimately, is the sole unifying tenet of Hanspur's faith.

Adventurers who worship Hanspur sometimes carry the Water Rat's will beyond the boundaries of the River Kingdom, extending his influence to foreign waterways. It is these adventurers who are most likely to be tasked with hunting down agents of the daemonic harbinger Corosbel across Golarion. They take up Hanspur's own mantle as both guardian and vigilante, protecting the people of waterways and rivers while punishing those who would take advantage of river travelers.


Hanspur's faithful do not have a uniform style of dress, though many work Hanspur's colors—blue and gold— into their attire. Most priests of Hanspur dress in accordance with local cultures or wear garb suitable for river life and travel. Short pants, waterproof ponchos, wide-brimmed hats, and the like are all common. Kellid and Varisian worshipers of Hanspur tend to incorporate tattoos into their attire, and Varisians weave curvy, flowing patterns into their kapenias. Clerics and warpriests of Hanspur prefer to wear armor that does not impede swimming.

Holy Text

Hanspur's religious text includes homilies about life and death on the river, as well as inspirational adages regarding freedom and self-sufficiency that provided the basis for the Six River Freedoms doctrine—the closest thing the River Kingdoms have to a national code of laws. Each priest of Hanspur adapts and modifies these texts according to her personal outlook on Hanspur's faith. These variations only deepen the mystery surrounding Hanspur's faith and origin.


Hanspur's faith has no organized holidays. Instead, his worshipers attend dedication ceremonies of river-going vessels to bless them for safe passage and take great delight in communities that build ships, thus increasing river traffic. Every sect of Hanspur has a day devoted to his death and another to his resurrection, though the exact timing of these holidays varies from sect to sect. Most priests of Hanspur celebrate his death as one might a momentous accomplishment, while the date assigned to Hanspur's resurrection is honored with song and contemplative retrospection. Ratfolk followers of Hanspur celebrate only his death, believing that this was the moment Ashkaelae ascended.


Hanspur's aphorisms are largely taken from the Six River Freedoms and combined with quotes misattributed to historical figures, borrowed from other religions, or made up by Hanspur's faithful, such as the following.

Say What You Will, I Live Free: Taken directly from the Six River Freedoms, this maxim refers to the freedom of speech enjoyed by residents of the River Kingdoms. To the followers of Hanspur, this aphorism is often used when confronted with the conflicting views of a different priest of Hanspur. The saying is used to defuse arguments by celebrating the diversity of opinion and belief that Hanspur affords his faithful.

Relations with other Religions

Hanspur's clandestine war with the daemonic harbinger Corosbel consumes much of the Water Rat's attention, and he extends this animosity toward all of the daemonic harbingers and the Horsemen, making a point of thwarting their goals whenever the opportunity arises. Hanspur views Gozreh as an enigmatic parental figure, both because of Gozreh's involvement in continuing Hanspur's existence, and also because of prior associations from the time of his mortal life. This fascination is not often reciprocated by Gozreh. Followers of the two beings are casual acquaintances at best, with their domains infrequently overlapping. Hanspur's relations with Pharasma are lukewarm, and though he helps in protecting the River of Souls, the goddess sees Hanspur's return to life from death as an affront, albeit a minor one.

Beyond the gods venerated in the River Kingdoms, Hanspur has a strained relationship with the Osiriani river goddess Wadjet. While the two gods each claim specific rivers as their domains, wandering priests of Hanspur have, on occasion, clashed with priests of Wadjet while visiting the River Sphinx. As a lawful good deity, Wadjet rejects Hanspur's capricious nature and sees his priests as a plague on her river; she seeks to force his priests to obey her laws while they travel her waters.

Because of the proximity of their planar domains, Hanspur and Besmara share an unusual relationship with one another. The Pirate Queen and the Water Rat have little in common personally, but each has aided the other on matters of personal significance as a measure of unusual camaraderie between free spirits. Besmara occasionally allows him aboard her ship, Seawraith, for joint attacks on daemons in service to Corosbel, and Hanspur has spent time raiding the planes at Besmara's side. Though these dalliances do not last long, they are reflected in the easy interactions between their respective followers. Hanspur and Gyronna share a grudging respect based on their shared origins as Kellids.

Hanspur's relations with other gods are handled on a largely case-by-case basis, as he has no strong historical enmity against or alliances with them.


Hanspur's divine realm is a circuitous system of rivers that stretches across the whole of the Maelstrom. These waterways twist and divide without rhyme or reason, never staying in the same place for long. Because of his divine status and enmity towards daemons, Hanspur claims a portion of the infamous River Styx as his own, and harries daemons that attempt to cross his domain. The notable exception to this treatment are the thanadaemons that ferry travelers safely across the Styx; Hanspur respects these beings in spite of their daemonic nature.

Planar Allies

Hanspur's divine servants are all creatures born of rivers or entities that have returned after death. Hanspur often calls on the service of water elementals to do his bidding, though some of his more powerful agents noted below can be called using spells such as planar ally.

Ashkaelae's Brood (herald of Hanspur): Hanspur's herald is not a single entity, but rather an enormous unique swarm of waterlogged rats that move with a single mind. These voracious creatures surge and crash like a wave of flesh, shrieking and crying as they do. Sometimes these sounds rise to a crescendo, calling out in a voice that is composed of many but speaks as one. These rats are believed to be the many children of Ashkaelae, Hanspur's rat companion. Unlike ordinary rats, Ashkaelae's Brood do not carry diseases or parasites, and can both swim easily and breathe underwater. Hanspur sends Ashkaelae's Brood as a messenger when his will must be expressly stated or, more frequently, as a punishment when one of his followers egregiously violates Hanspur's few tenets.

The Lost Ferryman (CN unique thanadaemon): When Hanspur ascended and claimed his divine realm, he took a portion of the River Styx as part of that dominion, and confronted the Lost Ferryman, a thanadaemon plying that river at the time. While the newly reborn god intended to destroy the daemon out of spite, the Lost Ferryman was able to convince Hanspur of his worth and the importance of free travel down the Styx, citing his kind's unique capacity for navigating that river's treacherous waters. Hanspur considered the daemon's words and stole him from the Horseman of Death to act as ferryman of the Styx in his own domain.


With the assistance of another priest of Hanspur or by yourself, simulate the act of drowning. You can do this by fully submerging yourself in a body of water, exhaling all of your breath, and painfully inhaling water instead of air. Alternatively, you can lie on your back with your head at a lower elevation than your legs while water is slowly poured on your face and up your nose. If you choose the latter method, you must cover your face with a cloth while the water is poured. When you conclude this simulated drowning, contemplate your life and how your goals coincide with the teachings of Hanspur and the Six River Freedoms. You gain a +4 sacred or profane bonus on Survival checks attempted while on or near rivers. The type of bonus depends on your alignment—if you're neither good nor evil, you must choose either a sacred bonus or a profane bonus the first time you perform your obedience, and this choice can't be changed.

Evangelist Boons

1: River Sage (Sp)hydraulic push 3/day, river whip 2/day, or hydraulic torrent 1/day

2: River Scion (Su) Just as drowning was not the end of Hanspur's story, inhaling water holds no terror for you. As a free action you can breathe underwater, as if affected by water breathing, for a number of hours per day equal to the number of Hit Dice you possess. These hours need not be used consecutively, but must be used in 1-hour increments.

3: River's Embodiment (Sp) The river is a part of you, and you are a part of it. Once per day as a standard action, you can transform yourself into a Huge water elemental, as per elemental body IV. You can stay in this form for 1 minute per Hit Die you possess, and can dismiss this effect as a free action.

Exalted Boons

1: River Guide (Sp)obscuring mist 3/day, haunting mistsUM 2/day, or aqueous orb 1/day

2: River Traveler (Su) A priest of Hanspur should never fear the water, and should move as freely as the fish (and rats) that make their homes within it. As a free action, you can grant yourself and any allies within 30 feet of you a swim speed of 60 feet. This effect lasts for 1 round per Hit Die you possess or until you dismiss it as a free action, whichever comes first. Your allies must remain within 30 feet of you or lose this benefit. In addition, you gain a +2 profane or sacred bonus (of the same type as that provided by your obedience) on saves against spells with the water descriptor.

3: River's Depths (Su) The river is your companion, and it fights on your behalf, teaching your enemies about the holy act of drowning. Once per day as a standard action, you can cause one creature within 30 feet to begin drowning, filling its lungs with water. The target of this ability can attempt a Fortitude save (DC = 10 + 1/2 your Hit Dice + your Wisdom modifier) to negate the effect. If the target succeeds, it is staggered for 1 round while it gasps for breath. On a failed save, the target immediately begins to suffocate. On the target's next turn, it falls unconscious and is reduced to 0 hit points. One round later, the target drops to -1 hit points and is dying. One round after that, the target dies. Each round, the target can attempt a Fortitude save to end the effect. This ability affects only living creatures that must breathe and cannot breathe underwater. This is a curse effect.

Sentinel Boons

1: River Warden (Sp)wave shield 3/day, masterwork transformation 2/day, or quench 1/day

2: River Champion (Su) The river is your weapon. Three times per day as a standard action, you can sculpt water into the form of a melee weapon with which you are proficient (typically a trident, but it could also take the form of a dagger or another light weapon). You must have enough water to form the weapon, an amount equal to the weapon's normal weight. Once formed, the weapon behaves as a weapon of its type with an enhancement bonus of +1. This bonus increases by 1 for every 5 additional Hit Dice you have beyond 5 (up to a maximum of +4 at 20 Hit Dice). This weapon deals double the normal amount of damage to creatures with the fire subtype. The weapon dissolves into ordinary water after a number of rounds equal to your Hit Dice or as soon as it leaves your hand, whichever happens first.

3: River's Renewal (Su) As Hanspur was reborn in the water, so too are you healed by it. When completely submerged in water, you gain fast healing 2. You can recover a total number of hit points equal to twice your Hit Dice in this manner each day. At 20th level, if you fall below 0 hit points and your body is fully submerged in a river, you automatically stabilize.